How To: Charity Shop Finds

I was a bit naughty this week. I popped into one of my favourite charity shops - PDSA on the Royal Mile (bit pricey because of the prime location, but not a Primark cast-off in sight) - and bought FOUR new tops. Oops. NO MORE CLOTHES SHOPPING!

Silk-mix top £4.99 - Loved the contrasting green details, but is unfortunately dry-clean only (I'm going to risk it at a gentle cycle and see what happens)

Silk peter-pan collar blouse £3.99 - The previous owner must have been a bit more endowed in the chest area than me, but I'm pretty sure a good steam in the bathroom will reshape it (wishing I had done this before I took the picture). Otherwise, it wouldn't be a big job to re-dart the chest to pull it in a bit.

Lulu Castagnette cotton-mix cardigan £3.99 - What a find! I used to wear LC clothes when I was a kid, but I hadn't realised they made womens-wear too. It's a tad baggy around the hips so if it doesn't reshape in the wash I'll have to keep belting it (luckily I have one in an almost identical colour)

Cotton wrap-over blouse £2.99 - This one is by H&M. Normally, I don't buy high street brands in charity shops (they're usually not great quality) but I'd been looking for a wrap-over shirt for ages, and usually they're cut for someone with bigger shoulders than me. It's more décolletage than I care to show during the day, so I'll wear a camisole to keep it modest.

Quick Guide to Charity Shop Clothes:
  • Most clothes can be taken in, even if it's just a couple of stitches at the waist to tailor it a bit. However, clothes that are a bit small need to have ample material inside the seam to be let out (which is unlikely).
  • Silk and cotton (including mixes) are the best materials to buy. Polyester and other man-made materials generally don't last, so if they're not already a bit blooby, they will be soon after you give them a couple of washes. 
  • Like I said above, best to avoid high street brands unless it's something really special (and made of good quality material).
  • If you're terrified of the rails of disorganised clothes, do what I do and just let your eye find colours you like. Then you can look at material/price/size. In that order.
  • Check for marks and tears. Don't buy anything you aren't positive you can fix easily (well, duh).
  • Dyeing is always an option, but I think that the cost of the dye will probably be more than you paid for the item in the first place, and isn't really worth the effort. Maybe if it's really, really special and perfect in every other way. Maybe.
  • Don't be a hoarder (I could write a whole post about this, maybe I will...). Donate it back to charity if you only wear it once. I totally understand wanting to hold onto things you buy on the high-street or beyond that took a bigger chunk out of your wallet, although I bet I could still coax you to part ways with it...
  • Wash everything before you wear it. For this reason, avoid dry-clean only clothes unless it's something special,  you can afford the dry-cleaning bill, or you can live with the consequences of attempting a hand-wash/gentle cycle.
C x


Tulle Time

Renée Zellweger. I'm not a fan. Her shoulders and back really terrify me, she must exercise for hours to look that...fat-less...nevertheless she wore an incredible Carolina Herrera gown in Berlin, which really suited her. The dreamy tulle outer dress is embellished with gold beading and embroidery (if I were recreating it, I would use silver instead, I think gold is too warm for this dove grey shade). But really, she looks impeccable.


Dior Haute Couture SS11

***UPDATE: The following post was written prior to the scandal caused by the ex-head of Dior and his obscene remarks. I will not be publishing any future posts which include the designs of John Galliano.***

OhmanI'minlove. The Dior Spring couture line borrows heavily from the late forties/early fifties, and it's sumptuous. IwantIwantIwant.

Tiny waists, skirts as big as sails, with  hints of pencil strokes (above) and water colour paintings:

Maybe not practical for a city as windy, wet and beige as Edinburgh is right now. I could perhaps just draw on the accessories:

C x


A Wee Trip to Glasgow

I had a lovely anniversary in Glasgow last weekend. Budgetary restraints prevented us from travelling further afield, but we ended up having a swell time, and I founds lots of nice places to visit again next time. 

Tinderbox in the Merchant City was a great place to pop into for lunch, and probably breakfast, high tea, elevenses... The interior was designed by the company responsible for the stunning 'Tigerlilly' here in Edinburgh, so it was pretty swish and, like Tigerlilly, everything was priced with the added 'swank percentage'. I had a lovely hummus and roast veg sandwich, which I will definitely make again at home, what a great way to use up leftovers...

We were very lucky to manage to get a table at Jamie's Italian on Saturday night. There isn't a booking system, so you have to be prepared to queue for a while. Saturday night? Hour and a half. But the food and particularly the wine list is worth it. I had a stunning Sicilian Shiraz, which perfectly complemented my olives on ice (unbelievably good) and helped calm my mouth after the fiery arrabiata pasta sauce. It really was a treat.

Modern art wasn't my other half's thing, so I popped to the Gallery of Modern Art on my tod. It was in the process of installing a large new exhibition, so was a bit smaller than expected, but there's such a wide variety of things to see, and an awesome gift shop (ever the consumer...). 

 I am both embarrassed and proud of my shopping experience in Glasgow. I bought two key pieces from the new Primark SS'11 high fashion line (I squirm at the combination of those words with 'Primark'): a print skirt with tulle underskirt; and a wacky tea dress with a beach print (parasols, deck chairs). I also purchased James Franco's 'Palo Alto' short story collection, mostly because I am curious about how a young man can achieve so much so soon. I've only read the first couple, but it's impressive. Very impressive.

C x